What are we asking for?
Continuing the Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package at $55 million over four years.
Why is it important?
Fast internet and reliable mobile connections aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity for modern life.
However, many communities across regional, rural and remote Australia are missing out on fast, affordable and reliable digital connections, or pay a higher cost compared to their metropolitan counterparts.
COVID-19 has seen a much greater dependence on telecommunications as many people have worked from home, and others have moved to Australia’s regions to work remotely.
Our agriculture industry also needs fast, affordable, and reliable broadband services and suitable access to digital infrastructure to remain competitive internationally.
Access to telehealth and online education has also been critically important during COVID-19 to allow communities to access services while in isolation or when borders have closed.
Connectivity is also a big part of encouraging people to live, work and invest in regional areas, and it is important that residents and businesses have access to the same level of telecommunications services available in urban areas.
Extending the Stronger Regional Digital Connectivity Package would support better mobile and internet connections for regional, rural and remote communities across Australia, supporting their wellbeing and economic prosperity.
How would it support our communities?
Strathbogie Shire communities struggle to get reliable internet speed and coverage, leaving many residents reliant on fixed wireless and satellite.
Mobile phone black spots are also an issue because of the shire’s rugged terrain and rural location.
The shire advocates for improved mobile phone reception through its membership of the Indi Telecommunications Advisory Group.
Mayor Chris Raeburn, who has appeared before the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network, said it was frustrating for residents and business owners when promises of performance were not delivered.
“If something is not done our region will be left behind in the digital race and miss out on economic development opportunities,” Cr Raeburn said. “This is not an option we can accept.”